Birmingham beats Sunderland 2-0 in EPL

Birmingham beats Sunderland 2-0 in EPL

Published Apr. 16, 2011 5:40 p.m. ET

Birmingham eased its fear of relegation while extending Sunderland's slump with a 2-0 victory in the English Premier League on Saturday.

Midfielder Sebastian Larsson took advantage of a mistake in defense to score just before halftime in his 100th EPL game, then Craig Gardner added his team-leading ninth of the season in the second half.

Birmingham jumped in the standings above Sunderland, which has gone nine straight games without a win.

Only a few months ago, Sunderland was contending for a top-six position and dreaming of qualifying for European play for the first time. Instead, Sunderland has only one point from its last nine games.


Before the game, manager Steve Bruce insisted he remained the best man for the job.

His latest outing was ruined by Larsson, who pounced on a mix-up between defender Phil Bardsley and goalkeeper Simon Mignolet to score his third of the season. When Larsson was substituted after an inspirational performance for 87 minutes, he was given a standing ovation.

Alexander Hleb, only four minutes after going on, set up Gardner for the powerfully struck clincher in the 66th minute.